07 April 2009

Liveblog from City Council Session

Media is present. Local movers and shakers present. Lots of people wearing A's gear in the house. There will be many comments made. I will only cover notable comments, positive, negative, and in between. Mayor Reed takes care of a ceremonial item, and we're off.

7:20 - Reed prefaces this by going over the circumstances that got San Jose to this point, repeats the mantra that San Jose is in MLB's hands re: T-rights. "Let's get to work again," he says.

Harry Mavrogenes (Redevelopment) does short presentation. "With proper management a project like this could be an asset to the area." He brings out map. Need revision: AT&T parcels include San Fernando parking lot next to old Stevens plant.

EIR indicated improved access necessary by connecting Autumn Street between Coleman and Julian. Engineering plans are 35% complete. Acquisition process of property for Autumn Street/Parkway has begun.

7:28 - Comments start now. Michael Mulcahy starts (Baseball San Jose/Pro Baseball for San Jose, Inc.) off. Cites Cisco as even more motivated. Thanks the mayor.

Former mayor Janet Gray Hayes chimes in. Notes that she was originally opposed to the Arena, now says she was wrong and that the situation was managed beautifully. Supports ballpark. Representatives of the San Jose Arena Authority, Soccer Silicon Valley, and County Assessor Larry Stone come out in support.

First child speaks in favor about 10 speakers in, Matt Ross of Los Gatos. So far, two residents of the site-adjacent Georgetown neighborhood have spoken in favor.

First different viewpoint, a family including a small child. Is mostly concerned about the San Jose Giants' future and the family friendly nature of Single-A baseball.

First opposing viewpoint, slams Mulcahy for coming in 5th in mayoral election.

Transit planning advocate wants ballpark to be designed with HSR in mind. Wants City to do a comprehensive EIR update that includes all public facilities including transit and parks.

7:54 - Senior VP of McAfee (yes, that McAfee) represents the Chamber. Supports ballpark.

A partner at Deloitte & Touche (which has an office downtown) supports ballpark as a quality of life/recruitment plus.

Member of the Market-Almaden neighborhood (Convention Center) support a ballpark, but want City to give area residents a strong vote. One of them showed my 2-D model on the projector.

John Pastier, former architectural critic for LA Times speaks and ballpark historian (lives in Naglee Park neighborhood). Notes how horrible the Coliseum was for the World Series. Supports ballpark.

Parks & Rec commissioner or District 6 asks for partnerships to build/maintain sports fields.

8:09 - Someone finally talks about T-rights!

Shasta/Hanchett resident speaks out about fiscal responsibility. Two other area residents say that Diridon South is needed for transit facilities, not a ballpark. Both would like to see The Alameda transformed into a pedestrian friendly, tree lined boulevard. The back end of the comments period has more cautionary commenters, most of whom are asking for a full rewrite of the EIR.

Ross Signorino has a sign saying "Be a good neighbor dume (sic) stadium." Every city has at least one of him. He's wearing a Baseball San Jose shirt, given out at the famous rally at which former council member Forrest Williams cried, "San Jose has a constitutional right to have a baseball team!" Or something to that effect.

Marc Morris, who challenged the traffic study in the EIR, also feels that the land would be better used for development of the transit hub.

Carl Guardino (SVLG) speaks second to last. Talks survey. 285 members were sent survey. 120 responses were received in a week. Survey consists of 3 questions with 2 sub-questions.
  • Do you agree that the CIty of San Jose should be the home a MLB team? - 70% Yes, 10% No, 19% No opinion
  • Companies currently sponsoring/advertising with the Giants who would support the A's - 68% Yes
  • Companies hold season tickets or luxury boxes - 70% Yes, 13% No, 17% No opinion
SVLG will post results shortly on its website. SVLG will take issue to board before taking a formal position.

Former mayor Susan Hammer speaks last. Thinks the ballpark can be done, unlike 1992. Supports ballpark.

8:49 - Comments ended. Council members speak before a motion on the floor. Ash Kaira defends the previous EIR process, saying that it was thorough. Nancy Pyle mentions that the Arena has brought $1.28 billion to San Jose since its opening. Reed wants guidelines for a public/private partnership, and emphasizes a net positive impact to the general fund. (I wonder what that means?)

9:14 - Motion approved, on to the next step.


gojohn10 said...

--My own live blogging-- (I've always wanted to do this)


So far this city council meeting is the complete polar opposite of the Fremont meeting. I'm sure the council is stacking the speakers with pro baseball interests, but still. I don't think there were this many pro-baseball people in the whole room in Fremont.

Anonymous said...

"So far this city council meeting is the complete polar opposite of the Fremont meeting."

That's the difference between a city and a suburb. No slight to Fremont, but that's the reality. People downtown want this kind of stuff; it's why they live there. Propose it in a suburban part of SJ and you'll get stronger opposition than we see tonight.

Anonymous said...

To all those who want a new EIR completed, why couldn't someone tell them that the original was for a stadium of 45,000 seats, but that the proposed Cisco Field would be 32-35,000 seats. That would have shut a lot of NIMBY's up! Wish I could have been there.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:19- you don't pick a public fight when you don't have to---the EIR will be fine---no need to debate it in a public forum that adds no value---emotional comments from those presenting are listened to and noted--doesn't mean that it creates a issue--

Anonymous said...

Larry Baer stated on KCBS's "In Depth" on Saturday that Santa Clara County is Giants territory and that it isn't up for negotiations...thank God the territory rights aren't up to Neukom/Baer! Go San Jose!

Transic said...

Well, people should hope that it's closer to 45,000 than to 35,000. At least put some cheap seats in there.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I prefer the 35,000 intimate ballpark like Fenway and Wrigley--focus on creating an intimate environment---who needs the extra 10,000 seats that could be vacant 70% of the time--and yes I understand the impact of supply and demand--but still prefer the smaller ballpark

Anonymous said...

ML- did you get a sense on the status of remaining land acquisitions and if there are any issues? So resolution passed---what do you believe the next steps are other than of course to contine the land acquisition, update EIR and complete engineering work on Autumn Pkwy?

Paul said...

Looks like the Giants want to cling to their lame territorial rights for nothing more than 100% selfish reasons.

Come on, Giants. Tell us why its moral and good to deny economic and social opportunity to the South Bay. We're waiting.

Marine Layer said...

6:11 - Mavrogenes said that the remaining parcels are in negotiations, so no change there. I don't expect him to say they weren't making any headway, so no news there.

That's really it for the planning for now. Sometime during the summer I expect the City to dive into the full Diridon/Arena plan. Critics will say the ballpark is the tail wagging the dog there. Redoing the plan is more involved and time-consuming than ballpark negotiations, so it really comes down to timing. I'm not certain of the sequence of events after all of the ducks are lined up.